Use Your Words, Keri

No easy way to begin, so I’ll jump right in:  One day, months ago, I ceased being able to stomach the blank screen that greeted me whenever I tried to compose a new post here. I could not force it. Anyone who is creative knows you cannot force it. I’d close my computer wondering where all my words went. Finally, I stopped trying.

Months later, I realized what had been hindering me: I no longer cared to bleed so openly for others. I was no longer willing to exchange my privacy for the chance to reach people, at least not in this way. Some of my old posts are so incredibly raw that I well up just a few sentences in. Blogging here about what happened to me and the immediate years after was a cathartic bloodletting of all the conflicting thoughts and feelings flitting around my brain. It was a way to give shape and order to an event that had turned my life inside out. Most importantly, it was my delivering on the covenant with God that I had forged one rainy, Roman night, when the horrors of the previous 24 hours suddenly made perfect sense for my life’s purpose.

What brought me back? Maturity. Clarity. Personal discovery. And the knowledge that time has a way of making you forget – and not always for the better. Time dulls some of our brightest, most triumphant moments; it can make us forget who we are at our best or at our core. I wish it didn’t do that.

On days when I am near exhausted from dealing with the seemingly endless string of assholes I encounter while dating, or I start to stagger from the weight of my worries or fears, I wish I could recall, always, the fight I had in me – and the courage – at 2 a.m. on November 12, 2008.

Almost seven years ago, I dangled by my neck six stories over a cobblestone street in Rome, fighting for my life. When I close my eyes and relive it, I can feel the determination, the strength and the confidence I had to free myself from Marco’s manacles. I was an absolute force. I should cling to that memory on my lowest days.

The past two years, I have spoken at high schools, universities, associations and businesses to share with them what I’ve learned. I’ve spent two years as a rape crisis volunteer counselor at a local hospital and worked with dozens of victims there and hundreds beyond its walls. And I’m ready – finally – to recall here some of those moments. I appreciate your patience with me and (I hope) your forgiveness for my absence. I promise, I have found my words again. I have so much to say.

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